Due To A Recent Glitch, Old Tweets Lose Images and Links, Including Ellen Iconic Selfie

Written by Muhammad Muneeb Ur Rehman ·  2 min read >

The recent glitch affecting X, formerly known as Twitter, has resulted in the loss of images and links in tweets posted before December 2014. This issue has garnered attention due to its impact on significant posts, including Ellen DeGeneres’ famous ‘most retweeted’ selfie from the 2014 Oscars. While the image in Ellen DeGeneres’ tweet has been restored, many old tweets now display broken short links instead of the intended media or functional hyperlinks.

The glitch specifically affects older posts containing images or hyperlinks that were converted using Twitter’s built-in URL shortener. The exact start date of the problem is uncertain, but it was brought to light through a post by Tom Coates on a Saturday afternoon. A Brazilian vtuber, @DaniloTakagi, had already pointed out the issue a couple of days prior.

This glitch appears to primarily impact tweets posted prior to December 2014. Videos are not affected, as Twitter only introduced native image support in 2011 and built-in videos in 2016. However, links to external sites such as YouTube now appear as text with non-functional URLs.

An example of the glitch’s impact can be seen in a tweet by Ellen DeGeneres during the 2014 Academy Awards, where a broken link is displayed instead of the image. Although Ellen’s tweet has been fixed, this restoration is not universal, as evidenced by replies still showing broken links.

The glitch even affected one of the most iconic tweets of all time, Ellen DeGeneres’ selfie with celebrities like Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence from the 2014 Oscars. This tweet became the ‘most retweeted ever,’ amassing over 2 million shares on the platform.

Despite speculations about possible motivations behind the glitch, such as Elon Musk’s ownership and potential cost-cutting measures, the fact that the original media content remains indicates that the issue likely stems from an error or bug rather than a deliberate action.

There have been no public statements from Elon Musk or X CEO Linda Yaccarino addressing the problem. However, the image in Ellen DeGeneres’ post was eventually restored on a Saturday night or early Sunday morning, indicating that efforts were made to address the issue.

Interestingly, some other old tweeted images still function correctly. For instance, an image posted on President Barack Obama’s account after his 2012 reelection campaign remained accessible on Saturday afternoon.

The root cause of the glitch appears to be related to changes Twitter implemented in 2016, introducing “enhanced URL enrichment” to display previews for linked websites and native attachments that did not count against the platform’s character limit. Developer documentation suggests that metadata for these changes began emerging in December 2014.

This issue also sheds light on the historical development of Twitter’s URL handling. In March 2012, expanded URL enrichment was introduced, enhancing the metadata available in tweet payloads. In July 2016, enhanced URL enrichment was further upgraded to include a web site’s HTML title and description in tweet payloads, offering better matching options. The Search APIs began featuring these metadata in December 2014.

Furthermore, in September 2016, Twitter introduced ‘native attachments,’ allowing shared links to not count against the 140-character tweet limit. Both URL enrichment methods still apply to these shared links.

Despite the attention and speculation surrounding the glitch, Twitter, or X as it is currently referred to, has not provided any official comments or responses to requests for clarification regarding the issue.

The lack of official communication from Twitter, now known as X, regarding the glitch has left users and observers puzzled about the extent of the issue and the company’s plans for addressing it. As users reminisce about past tweets and interactions, the incident highlights the challenges and complexities that can arise when managing and preserving digital content, underscoring the need for transparent and effective solutions in an ever-evolving digital landscape.

Written by Muhammad Muneeb Ur Rehman
Muneeb is a full-time News/Tech writer at He is a passionate follower of the IT progression of Pakistan and the world and wants to educate the people of Pakistan about tech affairs. His favorite part about being a tech writer is tech reviews and giving an honest and clear verdict to his readers. Contact Muneeb on his LinkedIn at: Profile